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Julian Assange, Trump's parade plan and a new government for Germany

Julian Assange, Trump's parade plan and a new government for Germany
By Catherine HardyStefan Grobe
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It's all in this week's State of the Union with Stefan Grobe


The controversial WikiLeaks founder lost one legal bid that would have ended his forced refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy, which began more than five years ago.

A British judge upheld a UK arrest warrant, rejecting a call from Assange's lawyers for the warrant to be dropped because he is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden.

So, Assange is not going anywhere.

Hello and welcome to State of the Union, I'm Stefan Grobe in Brussels.

The long-running saga around Julian Assange continues.

And guess what, there will be more hearings and court dates to come.

Last year, Sweden dropped its investigation into rape allegations against Assange because it was unable to get access to him.

Assange has always denied the allegations, claiming the sex was consensual.

But he has long argued that there is an international conspiracy orchestrated by Washington to prosecute him for his role in the publication of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. government documents.

Assange fears that the British would arrest and extradite him to the United States – that's why he believes it is better to be holed up in an embassy room.

Puigdemont - parallels with Assange?

Maybe because he got bored, in the past year Assange has been active in a campaign to support secessionists in Catalonia.

Obviously without success. Now, there is a striking parallel between Assange and the deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

Puigdemont technically is not holed up, but he fled Spain to avoid arrest and potentially a long jail term.

This week, his self-imposed exile in Belgium reached the 100-day mark.

Like the Assange saga, the Puigdemont story continues – and it could change any day.

Trump - a parade like Paris?

Many of us admire France as a country proud of its history and its cultural contributions to the world.


We love the food, the arts, and the role France played in the enlightenment of mankind.

Some are even in awe of France's pageantry.

No, it's not the Miss France competition, it's the military parade on Bastille Day in July.

Foreign guests are usually very impressed. And so was Donald Trump who was attending last year.


In fact, he was so blown away by the annual ritual that he now wants a military parade of his own.

He was inspired by Emmanuel Macron, a man who Trump says "is doing a terrific job". And the parade Trump called "a tremendous thing".

People with a sense of history might think that Trump was - maybe inadvertently? - rather inspired by another French leader, Napoleon.

In one British cartoon from 1803, he is claiming the French crown from Marianne who symbolizes France.


"Give me the crown, I want the crown or else I cry!", Napoleon says, sitting on the floor like a baby surrounded by toys.

Trump demanding a parade in Washington was widely rebuked by U.S. politicians and military leaders.

"We have more important things to do than to focus on a damn parade", one retired general said.

It's hard to imagine what Trump will do if he doesn't get his parade.


On social media there are all kinds of images of Trump playing with the military. Let's hope it will be peaceful.

Germany gets a new government - finally

As for Emmanuel Macron, we don't know what he thought when he learned he was Trump's inspiration.

What we do know is that the French president had a very good week because of news coming out of Berlin.

His favorite German partners were finally able to form a new government.


Macron was cheeful - and so was much of Europe.

Let's now take a look at some top events on our agenda for week seven:

And here we start with one of our stories from earlier. There will be another court ruling on whether Britain should drop its legal action against Julian Assange. This one is Tuesday.

On Wednesday, NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels.

And on Thursday, Bulgaria which holds the EU presidency, hosts a foreign affairs council meeting in Sofia.


One more thing.

In the media, photographers not only work under life-risking conditions – sometimes – , they may also produce amazing testimony to life as they see it through their lenses.

Sometimes, these pictures become art.

A museum in Rome is celebrating the 70th anniversary of Magnum, the largest and maybe the most iconic photojournalism agency in the world.


The exhibition looks back on seven decades of pioneering reportage, featuring archive images as well as more recent pictures.

The show is open until June 3rd.

That's it for today, I'm Stefan Grobe and you can follow me on Twitter @StefanGrobe1. Thank you for watching, have a parade-worthy week!

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